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Creation of the Endowment - An Unprecedented Initiative

In late 2004, a group of Windham citizens began to explore the possibility of providing private donations to enhance our community. A volunteer Board of Directors, including a Library Trustee and School Board member, was formed to investigate a community foundation in Windham. In January 2005, the Windham Endowment for Community Advancement was registered with the State of New Hampshire and in August 2006, the IRS approved our tax-exempt status as a Section 501(c)(3) organization.

During the same period, an interested resident generously provided funding to hire a consulting firm to determine the level of interest in and availability of funds for the creation of a private foundation. The resulting study consisted of 116 completed surveys (an impressive 23% return rate) and 30 personal interviews. The survey results resoundingly endorsed the establishment of a foundation and showed a compelling case for support.

The Windham Endowment worked to establish relationships with community partners so that the Endowment could be a resource for the many non-profit groups already doing good works in town. Dedicated funds already exist for the Nesmith Library, WIRE (Windham Initiative for Alternative Advancement), the Windham Community Bands, the Windham Historic Commission, and Boy Scout Troop 266.

Other community groups such as the Windham Woman’s Club and the Windham Actors Guild have been active supporters of the Endowment’s work.

In 2009, the Endowment created the Community Advancement Award, which is bestowed annually on a local organization or individual for outstanding service and dedication to the community of Windham. The first recipient was the Windham Community Bands. and the Windham Historic Commission

Also in 2009, the Board of Directors launched the Endowment's first Capital Campaign, supporting enhancements to the new Windham High School. Completed successfully at the end of 2010, the Campaign raised over $125,000 for additional equipment for Fine Arts, Technology, and Science.

The Endowment's work continues. In 2011, the focus will be on environmental issues, advancing the greenhouse at Windham High School, and building an endowment fund to support scholarships.